While Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy’s column “On Neutrinos and Angels” did an excellent job tearing apart the frankly ludicrous claims of Muslim ‘science experts’ such as Zakir Naik who tie physics to religious texts, it is in the field of biology where we see the most appalling faith-based pseudo science to understanding the world we live in.
Following in the footsteps of the Creationist craze spreading in the US, there is now a whole host of literature on Muslim Creationism – an attempt to scientifically explain the existence of life through religion, as a response to the widespread acceptance of evolutionary theory.
This Islamic (dev)olution on the science front has been led by the likes of Harun Yahya, alias Adnan Oktar a man whose books are found in many Pakistani homes with titles such as “The Evolution Deceit”, “Disasters Darwinism Brought to Humanity”, “The Design in Nature” and “Fascism The Bloody Ideology of Darwinism”.
Bear in mind this body of ‘scientific’ literature is written by the same man who has written “The Holocaust lie” and been accused in Turkey of creating an illegal organization, the “Science Research Foundation” for personal gain, blackmail and extortion, not to mention threatening and defaming professors of science. Luckily in Turkey, the professors successfully sued Oktar’s organization. Sadly, in Pakistan, going under the Yahya alias has let this pseudo science permeate among people willing to accept anything with the ‘religion’ label tagged to it.
There are countless critiques of Yahya’s nonsense available, perhaps most poignantly by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins pin pointing factual errors, incorrect photo captions all the way to highlighting how Yahya has simply ignored all scientific research contrary to his ideological standpoint.
To cite just one example, Yahya’s seminal work, The Atlas of Creation is so disgracefully put together that it misidentifies a sea snake as an eel (unrelated species) and labels Google images of fishing-lures as actual species.
Such lies (and lack of research) do nothing but mock the standpoint Muslim creationists hold so dear. What is that standpoint? That Evolution (change via mutation and natural selection across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations) is false, and that God alone created life. Let’s ignore the fact that Muslim creationists could avoid a lot of pain by simply saying God created the system of evolution to create life. No, that would be too simple. Instead, they have chosen to lie to younger generations of Muslims about the proven fact of evolution, and have helped push Islam into the dark ages of biology.
Where do the lies begin? The question should be, where do the lies end? Fallacies of logic are aplenty in Muslim creationist texts. To cite just one form, relying on the “God of the gaps” fallacy (where gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence of where God’s intervened in creation, proving evolution being false) creationists look foolish again and again as new evidence and new theories come up to fill the gaps they point to as evidence against evolution.
Where are the fossils showing humans evolved, ask creationists? Here they are say scientists. In fact, here are eight different forms from homo habilis to homo sapien. Aha! But where is the ninth and the tenth form ask creationists – that is surely evidence that the theory is flawed. Well, damn, say the scientists – we just dug up two more, which means the last slew of creationist books now need to be updated with newer, smaller gaps.
The above fallacy identifies just one critical reason religion should not step into the domain of science. Religion does not evolve or change fast enough to keep abreast of science, and when religious ‘science experts’ tie key parts of religious texts to science theories or facts that change, all it does is make a mockery of the religion.
This is sadly the state of biology in the Muslim world today, where research is limited the moment it steps into the quagmire of religious pseudo-science; where Muslim scientists and teachers are threatened and/or fear alienation from their community; where young children are taught that God created all living things, but let’s not find out how.